A cartoon in the newest edition of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo has created massive outrage online after it showed drowned toddler and Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi growing up to be a sexual assaulter. Titled “Migrants”, the cartoon shows the now-iconic picture of the child Kurdi lying dead on the beach contrasted with two grotesque, grown-up men chasing screaming women with their tongues hanging out.
The text on the cartoon asks “What would little Aylan grow up to be?”, and responds by writing “Ass groper in Germany”. The cartoon is a reference to the sex crimes that took place in Cologne on New Year's Eve, which have been attributed to “Arab or North-African-looking men” believed to be immigrants.
The insinuation that refugees would grow up to be attackers offended many netizens, who immediately called out the cartoon for being racist. However, some said it was mocking the standard tabloid response to the refugee crisis. The cartoon was published a week after the anniversary of the attacks at the Charlie Hebdo office.
The photograph of Kurdi brought international attention to the plight of Syrian refugees, who are being forced to flee their country because of a multi-pronged international war that is taking place there.